ST. PETERSBURG -- Given the frigid, uncertain and start-and-stop nature of the Twins' early season schedule, the team was especially grateful for one aspect of Friday night's game against the Rays.The roof at Tropicana Field.The Twins came into Friday with just 13 games played -- four postponed by weather --
ST. PETERSBURG -- Given the frigid, uncertain and start-and-stop nature of the Twins' early season schedule, the team was especially grateful for one aspect of Friday night's game against the Rays.
The roof at Tropicana Field.
The Twins came into Friday with just 13 games played -- four postponed by weather -- including one that was played in 29-degree temperatures. A normal baseball routine would be welcomed.
"It's probably been as strange a start to a season as I can recall,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It'll be good to get in more of an established pattern.
"We have 13 games recorded, but it still feels like we're trying to get ready. It's that kind of feeling.''
A strange feeling.
"Baseball is all about routine, routine, routine,'' Twins second baseman James Dozier said. "Off-days are great in the big leagues, but they can also [stink]. You might play 20 straight games, have an off-day, then feel like your timing isn't great when you come back.
"So to play a few [in a row], yes, that helps.''
Ex-Rays come back positive
Several Twins built great memories at Tropicana Field with the Rays. First baseman Logan Morrison played two seasons (2016-17) with the Rays, registering 38 home runs and 85 RBIs in his final season. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi was traded to the Twins during Spring Training. Right-hander Fernando Rodney was the Rays' closer from 2012-13. Bench coach Derek Shelton was the Rays' hitting coach from 2010-16.
Morrison said it was a happy return.
"I'm a little tired because it was a longer walk [to the visiting clubhouse],'' Morrison said with a smile. "I had to get my hamstring worked on when I got in here.
"But really, it's great. Lots of good memories here. It's a little strange to come back, but it's nice to see the guys again.''
• Molitor said outfielder Byron Buxton, who went on the 10-day disabled list with migraines, was doing better as of Friday.
"There has been slight improvement,'' Molitor said. "We hope to see him out here at some point. [It is] to be determined when he starts doing some light work -- non-baseball related. But it's good that he's doing better.''
• Twins center fielder Max Kepler, who left the 16-inning win against the Indians in Puerto Rico early with a right knee injury, was back in the lineup and pronounced himself healthy.
"I blame it on the turf,'' Kepler said. "My knee locked up. I think it happened over time. Playing on turf for one game is like the equivalent of a week [on grass]. It just doesn't give as much as grass. I just have to stay loose and take care of my [knee]. I think I'll be fine.''
** Joey Johnston ** is a contributor to MLB.com and is based in St. Petersburg.